Robert Dupont claims PHPs result in a “lifetime of well-being” LMAO

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The Medscape article  Physician Health Programs- More Harm Than Good? by Pauline Anderson shed some light on coercive, controlling  secretive lair of Physician Health Programs.    Coercive v. supportive is the question Alissa Katz presents in todays Emergency Medicine News.  Supporting coercion, John Knight and J. Wesley Boyd claim that any doctor caught in the maw of their state PHP must abide by whatever the PHP requests in order to continue practicing medicine. Susan Haney concurs who notes the unwary self-referrer who unwarily steps into the lions den.

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 Former White House Drug Czar (1973-1977) Robert Dupont, M.D. disagrees claiming the programs are worth the price of a “lifetime of well-being.”

You don’t say?     Robert Dupont’s ties to the Drug and Alcohol Testing Association (DATIA) are thick  and the designs of the former National Institute on Drug Abuse Director are spelled out in the ASAM White Paper on Drug Testing as well as his keynote speech before DATIA proposing expansion of this paradigm to other populations including workplace, healthcare, and schools.  He profits from both drug tests and employee assistance program management.  The “PHP-blueprint” is simply Straight, inc. for doctors and the same propaganda, fabricated studies, 12-step indoctrination, coercion, control and abuse remain unfettered and just as vile.

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Dupont wants to swindle the PHP system into other EAPs such as as DOT proclaiming the “need to reach more of the 1.5 million Americans who annually enter substance abuse treatment, which now is all too often a revolving door.”1 They conclude:

This model of care management for substance use disorders has been pioneered by a small and innovative group of the nation’s physicians in their determination to help other physicians save their careers and families while also protecting their patients from the harmful consequences of continued substance abuse. In fulfilling the professional admonition “physician: first heal thyself,” these physicians have created a model with wide applicability and great promise.1image1

“Based on abundant evidence, a “new paradigm” for substance abuse treatment has evolved that is the exact opposite of harm reduction. This paradigm enforces a standard of zero tolerance for alcohol and drug use that is enforced by monitoring with frequent random drug and alcohol tests. Detection of any drug or alcohol use is met with swift, certain, but not draconian, consequences.”

 

Straight, Inc. –Torture as treatment

 

In 1981 Dupont made similar claims about Straight, Inc., a non-profit teenage rehabilitation center.   The predecessor of Straight, Inc., the Seed, was started in 1970 in Florida with a start up grant of $1 million dollars from the federal governments National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Director of NIDA, Robert L. DuPont, Jr. had approved the grant.on the antidrug cult Synanon founded in 1958. Deemed a the “family oriented treatment program,” Dupont encouraged organization and expansion. Targeting the children of wealthy white families they exploited parents fears for profit. Signs for hidden drug use such as use of Visine, altered sleep patterns, and changes in clothing style were used as indications for referral. Any child who arrived would be considered an addict in need of their services. Coercion, confrontation, command and control as the guiding principles,. Submit or face the consequences. .We know what’s right. The idea was to strip the child of all self-esteem and then build him back up again in the straight image. Abused dehumanized, delegitimized, and stigmatized-the imposition of guilt, shame, and helplessness for ego deflation and murder of the psyche to facilitate canned and condensed 12-step as a preparatory step on the path of lifelong spiritual recovery.

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Children were coaxed or terrorized into signing confessions, berated, and told they were in “denial. Inaccurate and false diagnoses were given to wield greater control. Reports and witness accounts now indicate that many of the kids did not even have drug problems but by creating a “moral panic” about teenage drug use they exploited parents fears for profit. Straight, Inc. became the biggest juvenile rehabilitation center in the world. Health officials in Boston cited Straight for treating a 12 -year old girl for drug addiction when her records revealed all she did was sniff a magic marker! Pathologizing normality.

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Methodologically flawed research , deceptive marketing, and propaganda were all used to support the continuation of the program. Designed to be hidden from public view. Straight, Inc. had no regulation or oversight. These programs of torture and abuse resulted in many suicides, suicide attempts, post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological   and grave psychological trauma.There is a FB page dedicated in memory to all of those who died.

Of course Dupont brandishes the “PHP-blueprint” claiming  remarkable success in the same old saw we have heard ad nauseam.  This paper is paraded around as ifs the holy grail but it is methodologically bottom of the barrel and the conflicts-of-interest are obscene.  This retrospective five year cohort study published in 2008 is their flagship and shining star and they claim an 80% success rate in treating doctors which sounds pretty good until you consider 80% of the doctors therein do not have a substance use disorder.

The 2008 Physicians Health Program study inexplicably excluded resident physicians because they “were both younger than the average practicing physician and therefore at higher risk of substance abuse.”  Other than cherry picking to favor success what is the logic behind that.

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More importantly, however, is the 24 that “left care with no apparent referral” and the 48 that “involuntarily stopped or had their licenses revoked.”  It is my understanding they chose these endpoints due to the large number of doctors who died by suicide so instead of identifying “suicide” they chose what they did to them as an endpoint.  “left care with no apparent referral” sounds better then “left care and shot himself in the head.”

Dupont is bragging and flagging  the “blueprint” as a successful model applicable to other populations and plans to bring it to you.  Why?  To sell long-term inpatient treatment and frequent drug testing.   Dupont once recommended everyone under 40 be tested when he was 41.  This man wants to test everyone.  If he could he would test infants–hell he’d test fetuses if he could.  One thing is for certain though–if the blinkered masses don’t wake up from their apathetic slumber they will not too far from now be waking up to pee in in a cup and won’t be able to do a damn thing about it.Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 12.09.01 AM

 

 

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Emergency Medicine News:
doi: 10.1097/01.EEM.0000480794.97823.49
News

News: Physician Health Programs: Coercive or Supportive?

Katz, Alissa

You wouldn’t think physician health programs — designed to help doctors recover from substance abuse — would be such a contentious topic. But more than a few physicians complain that participation is “coercive” if a physician wants to retain his license.

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The programs are run on a state level, and have evolved into for-profit entities, according to physicians who have been through one. You can find one in all 48 states and Washington, D.C., charged with preventing “substance abuse problems among physicians and to detect, intervene, refer to treatment, and continuously monitor recovering physicians with substance use disorders.” (J Subst Abuse Treat 2009;37[1]:1.)

Physician health programs (PHPs) are funded a variety of ways depending on location, including state licensing board grants, fees charged to participants, and contributions from state medical associations, according to reports. When a physician agrees to cooperate with the PHP and adhere to any and all recommendations, it decreases the probability he will be subject to disciplinary action and increases the likelihood he will be able to remain in practice, PHP proponents say. But not everyone agrees.

“Participation is coercive, and once a PHP recommends monitoring, physicians have little choice but to cooperate if they have any intention of ever practicing medicine again,” J. Wesley Boyd, MD, PhD, and John R. Knight, MD, former PHP associate directors in Massachusetts, said in an editorial in the Journal of Addiction Medicine. (2012;6[4]:243.)

Physician health programs report results of compliance, including drug test results to licensing boards, credentialing agencies, and employers whether the physician is sober, compliant with his treatment, and capable of safely practicing medicine.

“Programs are generally structured to encourage professionals to get help early before the onset of problems in the workplace, but the consequences depend on the situation and the state policies,” said Warren Pendergast, MD, a psychiatrist and the CEO of the North Carolina PHP (NCPHP)

Compliance Mentality

North Carolina’s PHP was audited in 2013-2014. “There were a number of protections they wanted us to institute. There was a conflict of interest issue raised about our every-other-year retreat having a small amount of contribution from assessment and treatment centers, and we stopped that in 2012. Our policy was similar to many medical meetings sponsored by vendors,” said Dr. Pendergast.

Drs. Boyd and Knight said in their editorial the programs have a compliance mentality that reports physicians to their medical board for possible disciplinary action if they don’t comply with the program’s recommendations, depriving the physicians of having a say in their own treatment.

So why are physicians opting into these programs? Colleagues can recommend them for an evaluation and they have to comply, and others who self-refer just don’t know any better, said Susan Haney, MD, an emergency physician in Oregon, who went through treatment assigned by her state’s PHP.

“That’s the problem. You assume, as I assumed, that the medical board is staffed with caring and competent physicians, and that the health program is there to help. So you go to them naïvely asking for help or your colleagues refer you to them thinking you’ll get help. I guess some people find help. But a lot of physicians are exploited by the system,” she said.

Robert DuPont, MD, the president of the Institute for Behavior and Health and a supporter of physician health programs, said such criticisms aren’t looking at what the programs have achieved. “Outcomes are very positive, with only 22 percent of physicians testing positive at any time during the five years and 71 percent still licensed and employed at the five-year point,” according to a study Dr. DuPont co-authored. (J Subst Abuse Treat 2009;37[1]:1.)

Abstinence rates among substance-abusing physicians who engage with PHPs are in the 75 to 80 percent range, which is far higher than almost any other form of substance abuse treatment. This can be attributed to PHPs’ demographic and higher socioeconomic status, compared with those in other substance abuse programs, and the risk-to-reward ratio is often higher for PHP participants. (BMJ2008;337:a2038.)

“Programs have no leverage. They have no punishment; they have no consequences. The consequences are all kneaded out by other organizations, by the medical boards or the hospitals. I think all these critics have gotten it mixed up. The physicians who are coming to the PHPs have big problems; they’re under a lot of pressure, not from the PHP but from somewhere else.”

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Costly Treatment

Dr. DuPont’s study said PHPs don’t provide formal addiction treatment, either, but instead function as long-term case managers and monitors for participants. Evaluations through PHP-recommended treatment centers aren’t usually covered by insurance, for example, and can cost as much as $4,500 for a 96-hour evaluation, if not more, and can go as high as $39,000 for a typical three-month length of stay.

“If treatment is priced so high that it is out of the reach of potential physician-patients, it does not serve the purpose for which it was created and thus represents an administrative and management failure on the part of the PHP,” Drs. Boyd and Knight wrote. (J Addict Med 2012;6[4]:243.)

Because many centers that specialize in evaluating health care professionals also provide costly treatment, Drs. Boyd and Knight said they are left wondering whether financial incentives play a role in the recommendation. Reports argue that physicians charge a lot for their time and services, so they are financially able to pay more than a non-physician would for the same treatment. “In our experience, it is far more common for physicians to simply stay at the same facility for treatment rather than packing up and moving elsewhere,” they wrote.

Evaluation and treatment centers support PHPs financially, too, adding to a potential conflict of interest between the two. Dr. DuPont said he thinks the price to pay for assessments and treatment, however, is small compared with the perspective of a lifetime of well-being. “My experience is that PHPs are certainly willing to work with physicians on cost issues. I think it’s not realistic to think the people in the programs are not going to need treatment. To me it goes without saying the treatment is part of the package,” he said.

North Carolina has a scholarship program administered through the state’s Medical Society Foundation, and the several-thousand-dollar assessments are part of the reason the program screens. “We don’t send everybody for assessment,” said Dr. Pendergast.

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The Proposed Expansion of PHPs. Illegitimate and Irrational Authority and the Urgent need for a critical analysis of the “PHP-Blueprint”

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” –Joseph Goebbels

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1. National Physician Health Program Blueprint Study Publications List

2.  Setting the Standard for Recovery: Physicians’ Health Programs


Physician Health Programs  (PHP) claimed “gold standard” for addiction treatment. “80% success rate” being used to promote “new paradigm” to other populations.

 PHPs are essentially Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)  for doctors.  The vast majority of people know little or nothing about Physician Health Programs (PHPs).

Physician Health Programs (PHPs) are being called  the “gold-standard” for EAPs.    Claims of unparalleled success are being used to promote PHPs to other populations as a “replicable model of recovery.”

Drs. Robert Dupont and Gregory Skipper are promoting PHPs as “A New Paradigm for Long-Term Recovery”  claiming an 80% success rate in doctors.

An article entitled “What Might Have Saved Philip Seymour Hoffman,” claims PHPs “ought to be considered models for our citizenry” and the “best evidence-based addiction treatment system we have going.”   The author repeats the 80% success rate for doctors and claims Philip Seymour Hoffman might still be alive if he had been treated using the PHP model.

The basis for these claims is a 2009 study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment entitled  Setting the Standard for Recovery: Physicians’ Health Programs and authored by Robert Dupont,  A. Thomas McLellan,  William White, Lisa Merlo and Mark Gold.

This  study is the cornerstone of the “PHP-blueprint.” It is the very  foundation on which everything else is based, a Magnum opus used to lay claim to supremacy that has been endlessly repeated and rehashed in a plethora of self-promotion and treatment community blandishment.

To date there has been no academic analysis of the “PHP-Blueprint.”    There has been no Cochrane type analysis or critical review.    There has been no opposition to its findings or conclusions which are paraded as fact and truth without challenge or question and there is a general lack of concern from those both within and outside the medical profession.


The Expansion of Physician Health Programs (PHPs) to Other Populations

1.  Although these programs claim to help doctors they may actually be harming many and contributing to suicide.

2.  The plan is to greatly expand these programs to other populations and you could be next.

In 2012 Robert Dupont delivered the keynote speech at the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association annual conference and described a “new paradigm” for addiction and substance abuse treatment and proposed expansion of this paradigm to other populations including workplace, healthcare, and schools.

It is therefore critical that the “PHP-blueprint” be examined using critical reasoning and evidence base.   All of this needs to be assessed in terms of legitimacy and intent.

Lack of Evidence-Base and Conflicts of Interest

A  cursory  analysis of the study on which this success rate is based reveals very little evidence base.

The claim of 80% success rate in physicians is based on Setting the Standard for Recovery: Physicians’ Health Programs is unfounded.  The study is a poorly designed using a single data set (a sample of 904 physician patients consecutively admitted to 16 state PHP’s).

It  is non-randomized and non-blinded rendering the evidence for effectiveness of the PHP treatment model over any other treatment model (including no treatment) poor from a scientific perspective.  The study contains multiple flaws in both reasoning (type I and type II errors) and statistical analysis that render its conclusions invalid.

In addition the impact of undeclared but substantial financial conflicts-of-interest (including funding by drug testing and addiction treatment industries) and personal ideological biases (including personal 12-step recovery from addictions) in the authors of this study also needs to be considered.

Moreover the misdiagnosis and over-diagnosis of addiction in physicians in this paradigm  incentivized by lucrative self-referral dollars for expensive 90-day treatment programs is a significant factor.

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False Endpoints and High Mortality Rate

The mean age of the 904 physicians was 44.1 years. They report that 24 of 102 physicians were transferred and lost to follow “left care with no apparent referral.”

What happened to them? These are physicians with multiple identifiers (state license, DEA, UPIN, etc) not transient drifters.

Of the 802 left in the program they report 155 failed to complete the contract. Of these, 48 involuntarily stopped or had their license revoked and 22 died with 6 of those being suicides.
This study is looking at defined endpoints while being monitored so 6 killed themselves while being actively monitored by the program. But what about the 24 that left with no apparent referral? It is unlikely the just left on a whim. There must have been some precipitant event.

More importantly what happened to those 48 who were reported to the Medical Board for noncompliance and had their licenses revoked–that would be the critical time when this population would be at most risk for completing a suicide. That would be when hope was lost and the coerced physician, knowing that the fight was over, would take that step.

The outcomes they used were the last reported status of the PHP participant enrolled in the program.   Measuring success of program completion in doctors compared to the general population is meaningless as the short-term outcomes are quite different in terms of the external consequences imposed.   The consequence of not completing a PHP is the invariably career ending.    So what happened to the 24 of who “left care with no apparent referral,” the 85 who “voluntarily stopped or retired,” and the 48 who “involuntarily stopped or license revoked.”

Whether you leave a PHP voluntarily, involuntarily, or with no apparent referral it is the end game and your career is over.  Comparing this to other populations where the consequences of failing to complete the program are not so final is inappropriate.     Claiming superiority over programs with a 40% success rate is unfounded because for most of those people the consequences are not so final and may mean nothing more than an increase in testing frequency.

The big question is what happened to the 157 physicians who left or stopped?  How many of them killed themselves. With an average age of 44 there were  6 reported suicides 22 deaths, and another 157 no longer doctors.  I would venture to say the number of suicides is a lot higher than they claim.  But using the last recorded PHP status as the final outcome obfuscates this.

Due to the severity of the consequences a 20% failure rate is quite concerning. This is of particular concern because many doctors (if not most) monitored by PHPs are not addicts.

Imposed 12-step ideology and use of non-FDA Approved Drug and Alcohol Testing

As noted above, PHPs are essentially Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)  for doctors. Most EAPs, however, were developed in the presence of trade unions and other organizations working on behalf of the best interests of the employee. This collaborative effort led to EAPs that were more or less “organizationally just” with procedural fairness and transparency.

No such organizations exist for doctors.   Due to the absence of oversight and accountability  PHPs have been able to use non-FDA approved laboratory developed tests of unknown validity on doctors without any opposition.Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 6.49.16 AM

The distinction between professional and private life as a fundamental value of our society  and the importance of this boundary was also upheld by these groups.

In the PHP paradigm no procedural fairness or transparency exists and the boundary between professional and private life has eroded.

PHPs impose 12-step ideology on all doctors referred to these programs.   State Medical Boards  enforce this in violation of the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment yet there is little recourse for doctors as they are threatened with non-compliance and loss of licensure.

Selling the PHP Paradigm

The use of 12-step  is most likely not ideologically driven but profit driven. Abstinence based 12-step programs justify the use of frequent drug and alcohol testing with ongoing lifelong assessment and treatment.    As with drug-courts,  PHPs provide a lucrative model to the drug and alcohol testing, assessment and treatment industry.

The plan to expand this to other populations is outlined in the ASAM White Paper.

This concerns all of us.  The first step needs to be a critical appraisal of  Setting the Standard for Recovery: Physicians’ Health Programs,  the foundation of their claims of an 80% success rate and a conflict-of-interest analysis of its authors.  The legitimacy of the study and its claims needs to be questioned.

It does not take a Cochrane review to see that the emperor has no clothes.  This is not difficult. It is straightforward and simple.

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 6.30.41 AM  As an illegitimate and irrational authority it is necessary that this opinion remain unchallenged. We need to challenge it.

Historical, political, economic and social analysis reveals that the “PHP-blueprint” is a false-construct built on circumnavigation and obfuscation.  An evidence-based scrutiny of the literature would reveal it to be invalid and of little probative value.

But if  nobody speaks up it is inevitable that they will expand the “PHP blueprint”  to other employee assistance programs and schools.

This is not just about doctors.  You too are at risk for coercion, control, conformity and forced adherence to a  lifetime of abstinence and 12-step indoctrination and if you do not speak up now it won’t be a risk but a certainty.

The ASAM plan to exploit the doctor-patient relationship to drug test everyone they can using non-FDA approved tests they introduced: And you and your doctor won’t have a choice in the matter.

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Before the  2012 Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA)  annual conference, former Nixon Drug Czar Dr. Robert Dupont delivered a speech entitled “Drug Testing and the Future of American Drug Policy.”   Dupont describes a “New Paradigm” for substance abuse treatment that enforces “zero tolerance for alcohol and drug use”  enforced by monitoring with frequent random drug and alcohol tests in which positive tests are “met with swift, certain, but not draconian, consequences.” The paradigm is based on the current Physician Health Programs blueprint.  Dupont states:

“…physician health programs , have set the standard for effective use of drug testing. These pioneering state programs provide services to health care professionals with substance use disorders. The programs are run by physicians, some of whom in recovery themselves. PHPs feature relatively brief but highly focused treatment followed by active lifelong participation in the 12-step fellowships of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. The key to the success of the PHP system of care management is the enforcement of the standard of zero tolerance for any alcohol or other drug use by intensive long-term random testing for both alcohol and drugs with swift and certain consequences for even a single use of alcohol or any other drugs of abuse. PHPs use drug panels of 20 or more drugs. The PHPs commonly use EtG and EtS tests to detect recent alcohol use. Similar comprehensive programs have been developed for commercial pilots and attorneys. These innovative programs of care management produce unprecedented long-term, outcomes.”

Physician Health Programs (PHPs) use a doctor’s medical license as “leverage” in what they call “contingency management.”  The doctor must comply with any and all demands made under threat of being reported to their medical board for “non-compliance.”  The national organization representing PHPs, the Federation of State Physician Health Programs (FSPHP) has convinced the national organization representing state medical boards, the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) that “second-guessing” PHP authority “undermines a culture of professionalism.”   As with every other ware the FSPHP has pitched the FSMB they accepted this notion in blind faith and without critical analysis. If they did look a little deeper they would find the “PHPs-blueprint” more resembles a paradigm of “racketeering” then it does “rehabilitation” or “recovery” and the terms they use are euphemisms.  Taking a medical license “hostage” and holding it for “ransom”  while putting coins in your pocket by “extortion” doesn’t fit in with a “culture of professionalism” though.  They are very good at impression management–have to give them that.

Declaring the PHP model the “gold standard” of substance abuse treatment they now want to spread the wealth to others, including kids.    But instead of a medical license it will be your student loan, right to participate in school sports, teaching license, hairdressing license, commercial truck driving license, gun license, and even license to drive they will be after.  If you got it and it is in any way tied to state or federal government benefits or rights they will threaten you with removing it.  And as is being seen in doctors there will not be a damned thing you will be able to do about it.

This is all outlined in the 2013 American Society of Addiction Medicine White Paper on Drug Testing.   If you have not read it yet you need to.   If you read one thing this year make it this as it is under the radar and no one is talking about it.

A Modest Proposal

I implore you to do two things:

1.  Read the ASAM White Paper on Drug Testing in its entirety.  It can be found here and here.

2.  If you like what you see do nothing.  If this is the predominant response then it will surely come to fruition as has every other public policy recommendation the ASAM has pushed.  ( See policy entrepreneurship, bent science,  moral crusades).

3. If you don’t like what you see then stand up!  Make your voice known.  Make your voice known in every venue you can.  Write and call your local and state politicians,  comment in the news media, tweet, Instagram, post to FaceBook, send links to your connections on Linkedin. Do everything you can because we do not have long.  The ASAM is slated to become recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties in 2016 and that will be the beginning of the end.  What is described in the ASAM White Paper will be ushered in and, as we have seen with what has happened to doctors, there will not be a thing you will be able to do about it.

The ASAM is not a medical “specialty” but a “special interest group representing the billion dollar drug and alcohol testing, assessment and treatment industry.   Although they say they exist to help addicts and benefit the public their plans as outlined below suggest they do neither.   Moreover, many of the architects of this future drug-testing dystopia can be found right here on this list.

In order to prevent this we need voices now!  Please take the ASAM White Paper on Drug Testing Challenge.  Read it, form an opinion and state, yell and shout  your opinion everywhere and anywhere you can.


The 2013 American Society of Addiction Medicine White Paper on Drug Testing describes the organizational structure of the “New Paradigm” which includes utilization of the medical profession as a urine collection agency for their drug and alcohol testing. When a doctor-patient relationship exists the testing is rendered “clinical” rather than “forensic.” Thus the consequences of a positive test can be deemed “treatment” rather than punishment. This bypasses the strict chain-of-custody and Medical Review Officer requirements designed to ensure accuracy and minimize false-positives.  Forensic drug testing is tightly regulated because the results a positive test can be grave and far reaching.  Erroneous results are unacceptable.

And then he proposed expansion of this paradigm to other populations including workplace, healthcare, and schools.


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Chain-of-Custody refers to the document or paper trail showing the collection, control, transfer, analysis and disposition of laboratory tests.  It is the written documentation of a specimen from the moment of collection to the final destination to the review and reporting of the final results.   The multi-part chain-of-custody form or “custody and control” form is part and parcel of this process. It contains stickers to sign and seal the specimen so that it cannot be tampered with and the form itself is signed by the appropriate parties as the test specimen travels from place to place. Information is added to the form as it travels from person to person.  It has been given the status of a legal document as it has the ability to invalidate a specimen with incomplete information.  Once the sample is analyzed it is reviewed by a Medical Review Officer (MRO) for final review. In the case of a positive test it is the responsibility of the MRO to ascertain an intact  chain-of-custody, determine whether an alternative explanation exists for the positive test such as a prescribed medication, and then and only then report the test as a “true positive.”

The MRO looks for what are called “fatal flaws” and,  should one be present, invalidates the test.  A fatal flaw requires the test be rejected as it were never drawn.  It invalidates it and it cannot be used. screen-shot-2013-12-19-at-12-20-46-pmAny and all drug testing requires strict  chain-of-custody procedures. It documents not only the whereabouts of the specimen at any given time but the management and storage of the specimen. This is important because time and temperature can influence the results of certain tests.  One such test is alcohol.

Specimen integrity is critical in forensic drug testing, but so too is the integrity of the people involved.


Forensic Versus Clinical Drug Testing

According to the ASAM White Paper on Drug Testing, clinical drug-testing “employs the same sound procedures, safeguard, and systems of information management that are used for all other health-related laboratory tests, tests on which life-and-death medical decisions are commonly made.”  In the box below they describe the multiple safeguards in place and requirements demanded of “forensic” drug testing but do not mention the reason these uncompromising and multiple specifications exist is to protect the donor from a false accusation of drug or alcohol use.  They proceed to define “clinical drug testing” as “part of a patient examination performed for the purposes of diagnosis, treatment, and the promotion of long term recovery” noting that clinical testing “must meet the established standards of medical practice and benefit the therapeutic relationship, rather than meeting the formal legal requirements of forensic testing.”  The authors then state that the “majority of drug testing done today” includes both forensic and clinical elements using individuals on parole and probation as examples.

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From the ASAM White Paper on Drug Testing

The logical fallacy here is striking.  It is comparing apples and oranges.  After detailing the specific quality assurance safeguards designed to prevent the donor of a drug or alcohol test from being falsely accused of illicit use, the authors give a general  definition and purpose of  “clinical” testing  then state that when testing for drugs the systems in place are up to snuff as it is already being used to make  life-and-death medical decisions.  The take-home message is that “forensic” testing is unnecessary hyperbole designed for legal challenges. The clinical lab  systems in place are used for critically  important testing so it can be used for drug-testing.   After all, parolees and probationers don’t require it.

Forensic guidelines were developed in collaboration with occupational and environmental medicine specialists, clinical and forensic toxicologists, pathologists and others and the recommended  requirements agreed upon by this consortium exists solely to  assure validity and accuracy in the testing process.  These requirements exist to protect the donor and If the “clinical” testing context fit the bill then “forensic” testing would not have evolved.

Labs ordered clinically in the course of patient care are interpreted within the context of multiple other pieces of data.  Lab errors occur all the time and are interpreted in that context. Oftentimes a lab will not fit with the clinical picture and, when that happens, a repeat lab is ordered for verification.  Specimens get collected in the wrong tube and specimens get lost but in the clinical setting they simply get reordered and there are no consequences to patient care.   In contrast drug testing is an all-or-none one-shot test and the results have consequences. It is for that reason they must be valid.  Chain-of-custody and MRO review are critical and that is why most drug-testing programs follow the forensic protocol.  And the example of non-forensic drug-testing  parolees and probationers is misleading.   Any Employee Assistance Program that has a union or some other group looking out for their best interests uses strict “forensic” guidelines.   Parolees and probationers have no power  and have no choice.  Besides, the  National Association of Drug Court Professionals uses the Laboratory Developed Tests these same people introduced to test  individuals on probation or parole in the criminal justice system just as they do in the PHPs.

The  ASAM White Paper:

 “Encourages wider and “smarter” use of drug testing within the practice of medicine and, beyond that, broadly within American society. Smarter drug testing means increased use of random testing* rather than the more common scheduled testing,* and it means testing not only urine but also other matrices such as blood, oral fluid (saliva), hair, nails, sweatand breath when those matrices match the intended assessment process. In addition, smarter testing means testing based upon clinical indication for a broad and rotating panel of drugs”

As a physician-patient relationship renders drug testing “clinical” rather than “forensic” the consequences become “treatment” rather than “discipline.”  And that is the real reason behind all of this.    A positive “forensic” test in most employee random drug screening programs today will result in an “assessment” for substance abuse.  Most EAPs allow a choice in where that assessment takes place.  The model this system is based on, Physician Health Programs. does not allow choice as evaluations are mandated to “PHP-approved” assessment centers; a rigged game.

A positive “clinical” test will result in the same thing under the ASAM White Paper proposal.  But the assessment will be at an ASAM facility and if a Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is confirmed it will result in mandated abstinence of all substances (including alcohol) and lifelong spirituality involving 12-step recovery   And by using the healthcare system as a loophole and calling this testing “clinical” rather than “forensic” the ASAM will have successfully introduced widespread testing of a variety of Laboratory Developed Tests (LDTs) of unknown validity while removing  the safeguards provided by forensic testing including chain-of-custody and MRO review.

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In Mechanics and Mentality the Physician Health Program “Blueprint” is Essentially Straight, Inc. for Doctors.

Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 8.38.55 AMIn 2012 former Nixon Drug Czar Robert Dupont, MD delivered the keynote speech at the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA) annual conference and described a “new paradigm” for addiction and substance abuse treatment. He advocated zero tolerance for alcohol and drug use enforced by monitoring with frequent random drug and alcohol tests. Detection of any substances is met with “swift and certain consequences.”

And then he proposed expansion of this paradigm to other populations including workplace, healthcare, and schools.

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 1.18.54 AMRobert Dupont was a key figure in launching the “war on drugs” — now widely viewed as the failed policy that has turned the US into the largest jailer in the world.

In the 1970s, Dupont administered the experimental drug rehab program called “The Seed” – that was later deemed by congress to use methods similar to those used on American POW’s in North Korea. He would later go on to consult for “Straight, Inc”, a rehab program that treated troubled teens as “addicts”, often for minor infractions or normal teenage behavior.

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 10.27.30 PMDeemed the “family oriented treatment program,” Dupont encouraged organization and expansion. Targeting the children of wealthy white families parents fears were used to refer their kids to the programs. Signs of hidden drug use such as use of Visine, altered sleep patterns, and changes in clothing style were used as indications for referral. Any child who arrived would be considered an addict in need of their services. Coercion, confrontation, command and control were the guiding principles. Submit or face the consequences. We know what’s right. The idea was to strip the child of all self-esteem and then build him back up again in the straight image.

Abused, dehumanized, delegitimized and stigmatized-the imposition of guilt, shame, and helplessness was used for ego deflation to facilitate canned and condensed 12-step as a preparatory step on the path of lifelong spiritual recovery.

Children were coaxed or terrorized into signing confessions, berated, and told they were in “denial.” Inaccurate and false diagnoses were given to wield greater control. Reports and witness accounts now indicate that many of the kids did not even have drug problems but by creating a “moral panic” about teenage drug use they exploited parents fears for profit. Straight, Inc. became the biggest juvenile rehabilitation center in the world for rehabilitation and treatment of addiction.

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 7.10.47 PMA 12 year old girl was admitted to inpatient addiction rehabilitation for sniffing a “magic marker”–Once!

A Deficiency Correction Order was issued by the Executive Office of Human Services, Office of Children, Commonwealth of Massachusetts Services to Straight, Boston in 1990 that read in part:

“Although Straight’s statement of services states that Straight serves chemically dependent adolescents, a review of records and interviews with staff demonstrate that Straight admits children who are not chemically dependent. For example, one twelve-year-old girl was admitted to the program although the only information in the file regarding use of chemicals was her admission that she had sniffed a magic marker.”

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Straight was always making outlandish claims of success but there was no scientific evidence based data to support it. In September 1986 USA TODAY ran an article headlined: DRUGS: Teen abusers start by age 12 which opened with: “Almost half of the USA’s teen drug abusers got involved before age 12…”The article was based on a study conducted by Straight, Inc.

Many former patients of Straight were so devastated by the abuse that they took their own lives. Since then, Dupont has been a key figure in the proliferation of workplace drug testing programs, and once advocated for drug testing anyone in the workplace under the age of 40.Slide39

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Disrupted Physician

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In 2012 former Nixon Drug Czar Robert Dupont, MD delivered the keynote speech at the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA) annual conference and described a “new paradigm” for addiction and substance abuse treatment. He advocated zero tolerance for alcohol and drug use enforced by monitoring with frequent random drug and alcohol tests. Detection of any substances is met with “swift and certain consequences.”

And then he proposed expansion of this paradigm to other populations including workplace, healthcare, and schools.

Robert Dupont was a key figure in launching the “war on drugs” — now widely viewed as the failed policy that has turned the US into the largest jailer in the world.

Screen Shot 2014-02-23 at 8.06.56 PMIn the 1970s, Dupont administered the experimental drug rehab program called “The Seed” – that was later deemed by congress to use methods similar to those used on American POW’s in North Korea. He would later…

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